On this day, my thoughts go immediately to a dear friend of ours who transferred from New York to Stockholm who was present in Manhattan the day of the attacks. It's a hard day for her. I recall the 10th anniversary in Stockholm. We took her out for a boat ride and reveled in the peace-filled beauty that are the Stockholm waterways. Close friends from the London church were also present in New York that day. And my cousins were in New Jersey during that time, considering heading to Manhattan for the day. In fact, my cousin took this photograph on 9/9...perhaps one of the last shots ever recorded of the island with the towers rising above. We know that today is not an easy day for them as the journey of getting back to CA after the attacks was fraught with challenges.
I'm sure many have thoughts that drift to those they know who were present and of course, the searing pain of loss for those who lost a loved one in the attacks makes this day complex.
I have only been to New York city once in my life and it was in January of 2011.
I remember going to ground zero and seeing the construction site where the towers had fallen and where the memorial was being built. I look forward to returning one day soon and seeing the finished spot. I've heard it's beautiful and moving.
Today is my first 9/11 residing in the United States since the attacks. Of course, Facebook and media reports are flooded with remembrances and the church we attended today did a nice job of remembering the tragedy without vilifying the perpetrators. Prayers for peace were offered.
On the 10th anniversary, I had the responsibility of offering the pastoral prayer that morning in our church. I re-print here as I still believe it sums up what I still believe needs prayer.
Sadly, our troubled world is not much more peaceful. Terror still rises up. Misunderstandings between people cause conflicts and incredulously, powers still believe that the pathway to peace is through violence. I will always believe that violence begets violence and that oppression and aggression will always cause a loss of life. But I offer once again my thoughts and prayers from 5 years ago...I believed it then. I believe it now. Peace to those for whom today is an especially hard day. What follows is what I shared 5 years ago at Immanuel International.
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!